Apr 18, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Conservatives corner Mike Johnson in House floor confrontation

This is Mike Johnson

Photo: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

In a tense conversation on the House floor on Thursday, a group of conservatives pressured Speaker Mike Johnson to back off potential plans to make it harder to remove House speakers.

Why it matters: Johnson faces an imminent motion to vacate as he pushes through a foreign aid package that includes billions for Ukraine.

  • The House changed its rules this Congress to allow a single member to challenge the speaker's job with a motion to vacate.
  • One option being urged by Johnson allies is to change House rules in coming days to force more people to sign on to force the motion, as Punchbowl News scooped Thursday morning.

Zoom in: Conservatives were enraged as they left the House floor on Thursday, with members saying more people are considering Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's campaign to oust Johnson.

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Johnson would not commit to keeping the current rules.
  • Gaetz has been a longtime defender of Johnson, but has turned on the speaker in recent days.

Conservatives took particular issue with Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wisc.), who entered the conversation and facetiously urged them to pull the trigger on the motion to vacate.

  • "The vast majority of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives ... are sick and tired of having people who ... constantly blackmail the speaker of the House," Van Orden told Axios.
  • Van Orden confirmed that he confronted the group on the floor, telling Axios he called Gaetz "tubby."

Go deeper: Live updates on the Mike Johnson ouster effort

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